49 employees fired by federal ministry for receiving CERB benefits while working

Federal department responsible for the distribution of economic benefits to Canadians. stopped working When the COVID-19 pandemic ignited 49 Your staff who applied for and received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) while they were still employed.

testimony before the incident Commons Public Accounts Commission On January 2, Mary Crescenzi, deputy minister for integrity services at the Canadian Department of Employment and Social Development (ESDC), said an internal investigation was launched when the ministry learned of allegations of employee misconduct. . $2,000/month Benefits of COVID-19.

“It was discovered that some of our employees used themselves as Canadians to apply for CERB benefits. my time‘ said Cressenzi. “Those individuals break trust Their security clearance was terminated as they confirmed the reasons for the employer-employee relationship. ”

She asked Conservative MP Michael Crumb how many employees in her department were subject to an internal investigation.

“By today, we have finished 49 people‘ she replied, emphasizing that the person concerned ‘did’ no internal system’ Because of their application and they were fired because they had. Misunderstood Circumstances when applying for benefits.

she said the department warned the Chief Security Officer The moment they become aware of such an incident.

“How many of those cases were referred to law enforcement?” Crumb asked.

“there was No referral to law enforcement This was an internal investigation,” said Crescenzi. “And it was a review of the reasons on Violations of the Code of Conduct Associated with all employees in our department. ”

“I don’t need numbers”

These revelations December audit “Certain COVID-19 programsBoth the ESDC and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) have “identified employees who have claimed COVID-19 benefits,” according to the Office of the Canadian Audit Office (OAG).

Comptroller General Karen Hogan, who also appeared as a witness on Thursday, acknowledged the findings of the audit in response to Crum’s question, but said it was the responsibility of the ESDC and CRA to refer the employees involved to law enforcement. rice field.

“There was an internal investigation that started first. the following Whether to refer the case to law enforcement.However, we believe that the investigation first step on the rightsaid Hogan.

Crumb told Crescenzi that the money received by the 49 was “Caught” or was part of an ongoing investigation.

“Those money Established as an overpayment It must be repaid and they are treated as any other Canadian who received benefits they were not entitled to.

“They must make amends. But they already repaid?” Crumb examined.

“They are in the process of repaying. We need to see how many have been repaid,” she said.

The same question was directed to CRA Commissioner Bob Hamilton, who testified that the agency also identified staff claiming COVID relief checks. Couldn’t disclose numbers.

“There are no numbers in front of you,” said Hamilton. “not too manyobviously, and I don’t believe any of those cases offal entered a criminal investigation

Conservative MP John Williamsonthe chairman of the Public Accounts Commission, told the commissioner that “not too many” was “not a good enough answer.”

“Could you write to this committee later the numbers that were the subject of an internal investigation?” Williamson asked.

Hamilton said, “Let me get it back. I’ll try to get those numbers.

According to the OAG report, $4.6 billion has been paid to ineligible individuals since the federal government rolled out various COVID-19 benefit programs, with at least $27.4 billion in payments to individuals and employers “further investigation.” It is presumed that

“Divisions and Agencies did not develop a rigorous and comprehensive plan to verify recipient eligibility,” the Federal Auditor wrote.

“Their post-payment verification plans do not include verification of payments made to all identified recipients who are at risk of being ineligible for all COVID-19 benefit programs. got it.”